There is a very extensive site maintained by Lars Bruzelius at Upsala, Sweden. His Maritime History Virtual Archives at: has many pages of information about maritime history, museums, seamanship, historic ships, etc.

The United Kingdom Maritime Collections Strategy aims to coordinate a network for sharing expertise and information about UK maritime museums and resources. Curators and Directors Groups meet regularly.

The Heritage Trail is a privately maintained web-site that lists a wide range of historical sites and monuments in Britain. The maritime section has links to over 30 pages of information about historic ships and locations.

Maritime Heritage East is a web-site that unites over 30 maritime museums across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Well illustrated, it also allows themes such as fishing, sailors' crafts, seaside holidays, coastal environment, etc, to be looked at in some depth.

Hanes Cymru a'r Môr is a web-site focused on the maritime history of Wales, and includes a list of maritime museums in Wales as well as other useful links.

Joseph Poutre and David R. Wells have a large list of naval and maritime museums at a web-site devoted primarily to The Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society. Their list is in 2 parts: one devoted to museums in the USA, the other to museums in the rest of the world:

The Fleet Air Arm Archive web-site has an extensive set of links to Naval Museums, Aircraft Museums and, of course, to Naval Aviation museums and web-sites around the world:

Lists of some of the military and naval museums in the UK and Ireland, are at 'Best of the Web': and

Bob Smith's "Master Index to World Wide Maritime Museum Internet Resources" lists maritime museums in North America and in other parts of the world:

Other web-sites with lists of maritime museums and related links, in various parts of the world, include: and Educational Maritime Groups, in 'The Water Page' and Maritime History Resources at

John Kohnen's site ("The Mother of All Maritime Links") has links to a wide range of different categories of nautical web-sites, including maritime museums in many countries:

Historic Vessels

Other pages on this web-site list some historic vessels, that are either museum-ships or are classic vessels in private ownership and operation.

The National Historic Ships organization is the successor to the National Historic Ships Committee, set up under the late Admiral Lord Lewin in 1992. It continues to maintain a Register and Archive of British historic vessels, the most important of which are listed as The National Historic Fleet. The organization includes an Advisory Committee and as well as recording the historic vessels in Britain it also has an advisory role to the government and other bodies regarding preservation and funding.

Maritime Heritage Trust is an organisation formed from the merger of Heritage Afloat and The Maritime Trust (also known as the Cutty Sark Trust). It will work closely with the National Historic Ships organisation, lobbying for greater support for Britain's operational historic vessels, many being in private ownership.

The World Ship Trust campaigns for the preservation of ships of historic importance. It has a list of historic vessels on its web-site:

The Historic Naval Ships Association has a web-site that lists historic warships preserved in many different countries:

There is information about the "little ships" that assisted with the evacuation of Dunkirk/Dunkerque in 1940 at and

The web-site devoted to the Canadian Navy's historic Tribal-class destroyer HMCS HAIDA also has links to other naval web-sites, especially those in Canada:

Web-sites with information about historic submarines, including those preserved at museums:
Royal Navy Submarine Museum
British submarines in World War One
World Submarine History Timeline

The Tradboat web-site has pages of information about a variety of traditional and classic boats of various types: sail, engine-powered, civil and military. There are also details of many maritime museums and museum-ships in Britain, as well as specialist associations and preservation societies.

The Coble and Keelboat Society provides a focal point for those interested in the traditional fishing boats of north-east Britain (mainly Northumberland and Yorkshire). The web-site has information about the boats and good links to related organizations at:

There is information about Sailing Barges in the UK, including those available for charter, at:

Topsail Charters Ltd operates several historic Thames Sailing Barges that can be hired or chartered. For more information see the web-site:

The 60 tonne spritsail barge "Alice" can be chartered at Portsmouth:

The Steam Boat Association of Great Britain aims to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery. Their web-site at includes links and relevant small-ads. The Association publishes a quarterly journal and offers useful services to its members.

The European Maritime Heritage promotes pan-European cooperation to encourage the preservation and continued use of classic vessels, and acknowledging national rules when these ships visit other countries. The EMH website is at:

Pictures of vessels:

The geograph web-site has a page of photographs of steam-ships, taken in different parts of the UK:

On the flickr photographic web-site there is a group pool of Nautical pictures of interest. There are over 30,000 photographs.

There is a web-site with pictures, and some information, about paddle steam-boats in Britain at:

The New York Public Library has a very large collection of publicly accessible images on its web-site. There is a large selection of ship and nautical images at:

Naval and maritime history

The National Archives, at Kew, Surrey TW9 4DU, is the main repository for historical papers in Britain. It now combines the Public Record Office (PRO) and the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC). The web-site is:

Naval history:

The web-site British Naval History is a recent addition and includes much information about coming events, a list of books on naval history, blogs, comments and links. It also offers a venue for the publication of new essays and articles.

There are some pages devoted to the history of the Royal Navy on the RN's general web-site at: Unfortunately, many Ministry of Defence web-sites are ephemeral and we cannot give stable links to relevant pages. The Royal Naval Museum is leading a team from several British sea-borne forces museums, setting up a new "Sea Your History" web-site: that will carry digitized examples of photographs, memoirs, personal letters, diaries and recorded voices to illustrate life in these services during the twentieth century. The monthly publication "Navy News" is primarily for serving and ex-members of the Royal Navy, but it often carries news of museums, memorials and naval heritage matters.

Paul Benyon's web-site includes a large amount of information about the Royal Navy, especially during the 19th century, at:

Gordon Smith maintains an extensive web-site also devoted to naval history, with the emphasis on the Royal Navy in WW1 and WW2:

The Irish Naval Association has a web-site at: which includes a page of links to historical sites and documents.

The 1805 Club has sponsored a web-site devoted entirely to Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson at: 
See also the web-site of the Norfolk Nelson Museum at: for other information about societies devoted to Lord Nelson.

mercantile shipping history:

The UK web-site Books Boxes & Boats has an invaluable set of links to scanned sets of Lloyds Lists, Lloyds Registers, the Mercantile Navy List, passenger and emigration databases, much material in the London Guildhall Library, etc. The URL is:

A page on Lloyd's Register gives access to a large number of PDF documents helpful to people wanting introductory information on specific topics, for example: where to find The Mercantile Navy Listthe Registry of Shipping or information about Shipwrecks etc.

The Crew List Index Project CLIP has information about crew lists for merchant seamen on British ships between 1861 and 1913. Two web-sites, Swansea Mariners and Morwyr Cymru/Welsh Mariners have records of Welsh seafarers. Some Discussion Groups (see below) also focus on helping those who wish to trace records of ancestors or others with a nautical background.

North-East Diary 1939-1945 is a daily log of wartime actions and losses in north-east England. It includes shipping losses in that area as well as ships lost elsewhere on route to or from north-east ports. It was compiled by the late Roy Ripley and is maintained by Brian Pears at

Material on maritime history can be found on Lars Bruzelius' Maritime History Virtual Archives at

The Port Cities web-site carries information about the commercial, cultural, maritime and social history of several of Britain's biggest city-ports.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has much information about sites in its care all over the world at: It is possible to search the CWGC database on-line for named casualties. The Commission will also search for other criteria (casualties in particular ships, or on particular dates, etc) for a fee. See also the notes about shipwreck sites and the Military Remains Act 1986, below, under Special-interest groups.

Several sites in North America carry useful general information.

The US Naval Historical Center has an extensive web-site for historical source material and naval information at:

Andrew C Toppan maintains several pages at "Haze Gray and Underway", a site devoted primarily to US Navy History and photography:
This site includes information about ship-building yards, primarily in the USA but also some others world-wide: and there is also partial access to DANFS, the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, at:

The United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum in the former Bethleham Steel shipyard, at Quincy Fore River, Massachusetts, is home to the preserved heavy cruiser USS SALEM CA-139. The web-site is:


The Nautical Research Guild encourages research into maritime history of all periods and nations, and the construction of accurate scale models of vessels. A commercially-supported web-site at provides assistance with correct paint colour schemes for Naval model-makers. There is a questions-and-answers section.

There are several mailing lists where model makers can share and discuss modelling matters. See under Discussion Groups

Special-interest groups

The Royal Naval Association has its web-site at:

The Association of Royal Navy Officers (ARNO) has its web-site at:

The Merchant Navy Association [of Britain] has its web-site at:

The web-site of the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust carries illustrated pages on the history of British coastal forces, the boats that have been in use between 1915 and 1981, memorials and obituaries, and a page of useful links. The primary web-site is at:

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (mca) in Britain has now come under the UK government's Department for Transport. There is a new home page that seems still to be under development. There is no direct link to any page about the history of the Coastguard, but the search box will take one to a very short summary on one of the other pages. The Coast Guard service has had several different names, and has been controlled by different departments over the past two centuries, so its records are fragmented (many are in the National Archives) and it is unfortunate that there seems never to have been a comprehensive museum covering the Coast Guard's history.


Web-sites devoted to Canals and Inland Waterways in the UK include:

Inland Waterways Association:
National Waterways Museum:
London Canal Museum:
George's Canal Boating:
Canal Junction:

Conservation groups:

There are very many organizations focussed on conservation of the marine and freshwater environment, preservation of cetacean and other aquatic species, and studies of marine life. These include:
The Marine Conservation Society campaigns for marine wildlife protection, pollution control and sustainable fishing. 
The Sea Watch Foundation is a national marine conservation research charity dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) around the UK. 
WDCS International: the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society is a charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins and porpoises with offices and wildlife centres in the UK and other countries. 
The index page of the British Marine Life Study Society includes links to aquaria as well as to other sources of information about marine biology.


Trinity House is the primary organization responsible for administering the lighthouses, lightships and navigation aids around the coasts of England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Their web-site is at: Now that lighthouses are unmanned, Trinity House is making many of them accessible to visitors, and in some cases holiday accommodation is now available in dwellings once used by lighthouse staff (at a much lower level of comfort than now!). There is more information on the Trinity House web-site.

The Northern Lighthouse Board has a certain amount of historical information about the Scottish lighthouses, including those that are open to the public. The web-site for the Bell Rock Lighthouse also has a list of useful links at: Michael Spencer is developing an illustrated list of all lighted marine navigational structures around the Scottish coast at:

Ireland's lighthouses are the responsibility of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Their web-site includes a brief history of Irish Lights.

The LighthousesRus web-site lists a wide selection of Lighthouses, with pages showing the lighthouses of England, and photographs of WelshScottish and Irish lighthouses on separate pages. Other pages cover the Americas and Europe.

The French photographer Jean Guichard is well known for his photographs of lighthouses, often under spectacularly stormy conditions. His web-site includes a page on the History of lighthouses

Regional information for enthusiasts and visitors:

The South West Maritime History Society is an active group that organises, or announces news of, conferences, events and visits of interest to all maritime historians. Members receive an annual journal and a tri-annual newsletter. The web-site has full book reviews, a discussion forum and a good list of links at:

Celtic Maritime Connections publishes an on-line newsletter with information about events and organisations that focus on the maritime heritage of Wales and Ireland.

The North East Maritime Trust is based at Wapping Street, South Shields, and was set up to foster interest in the history and preservation of the different boat types of the Northumberland, Tyne- and Tees-side and North Yorkshire coasts. There is a workshop for teaching maintenance of these boats and related crafts, and the Trust and its members own many traditional boats, including cobles and motor fishing boats.

The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre is setting up a permanent display of items associated with this part of the Yorkshire coast, with facilities to enable the archives to be studied. The extensive web-site at: covers much of Scarborough's maritime history.

Sunderland Maritime Heritage is a charitable organization whose aims are to preserve the boat building crafts, skills and trades on which Sunderland used to depend and to promote interest in the ships linked to Sunderland, such as the 'City of Adelaide'.

The old Yorkshire port of Whitby has many maritime associations. There are memorials and museums in and near Whitby commemorating Captain James Cook RN, the eighteenth century navigator and explorer. Captain Constantine Phipps RN was a contemporary explorer of the Arctic regions, which were also explored by Whitby whaling captains such as the Scoresbys. Whitby was also the fictitious setting for the Dracula shipwreck. 
There are web-sites designed to given general information about the maritime heritage, for the benefit of visitors. These include The Whitby Guide and The Whitby Seagull, both of which have sections on historically important people with Whitby associations. The Captain Cook Tourism Association maintains the Captain Cook Country web-site, full of information about accommodation, tours and the history of this region of north-east England.

SAMPHIRE is a website for Scottish Atlantic Maritime Past: Heritage, Investigation, Research & Education. This project focuses on Scotland’s underwater cultural heritage along the west coast and islands of the Scotland’s Atlantic façade. It is intended to coordinate the investigation of wrecks and other submerged archaeological sites in Scottish waters.

Shanties and related songs:

The web-site Bitter End has an international list of shanty singers and a diary of shanty events at: 
The Chantey Cabin is a good UK source for buying recordings of a long list of shanty singers, as well as maritime videos and books about sea-songs. The URL is:


Satellite maps and information about ports world-wide are accessible at The ports in the UK are on page: Many of these ports have one or more maritime collections nearby.

Ship figureheads: Richard Hunter's The Figurehead Archives is a web-site with much information about old figureheads, books on the subject, and useful maritime links. Restoration and research services are also offered.

To commemorate the work of Sir Christopher Cockerell and the development of the hovercraft, the Somerleyton Hovercraft Celebration group have erected a memorial in the village near Lowestoft, where he lived and invented the hovercraft.

Andy Gale has a web-site devoted to the Prince of Wales Sea Training School, founded in 1920 in Limehouse, later active in Dover until 1976:

The Historical Maritime Society researches life in the Royal Navy around the time of Nelson, and its members recreate the experience with great attention to authentic detail. For information about events, activities, membership and the aims of the Society see:

The International Guild of Knot Tyers has a web-site that includes links to related organisations at:

Underwater archaeology, wrecks and war graves:

The Nautical Archaeology Society has a web site at:

The British Sub-Aqua Club can offer training courses for scuba diving as well as other support and facilities.

The Historical Diving Society's web site includes a page of HTML links to related sites, and a contents page for back numbers of its own journal, the Historical Diving Times. See:

Statutory protection of wrecks and maritime war graves

Some designated shipwreck sites in British coastal waters are officialy protected from interference if they are likely to contain the remains of a vessel, or its contents, which are of historical, artistic or archaeological importance. This statutory protection is given under the "Protection of Wrecks Act 1973". Until March 2011 protection was given when a Minister in the UK Government designated a wreck site, on recommendation from the The Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites (ACHWS) of English Heritage. Since 24 March 2011 the advisory role has been undertaken by their Historic Wrecks Panel. Information can be found on the English Heritage web-site at:

Previously, the Archaeological Diving Unit at the University of St Andrews had a web-site with important information about the Protection of Wrecks Act, historic wrecks in British waters, etc. It used to provide advice and technical support to the UK Government for the implementation of the Act but the Unit was closed down a few years ago.

The protection afforded to war graves at sea is a separate matter, administered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and not directly connected with the Protection of Wrecks Act. British military vessels may be protected by a Statutory Instrument, an Order issued by The Secretary of State for Defence under the "Protection of Military Remains Act 1986". An Order that came into force on 1 May 2008 gives protection to 58 sunken British and other military vessels (not all in UK waters, and not all are war graves). An update summarising this Order is on the National Archives web-site. I am grateful to Jane Maddocks of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) for this information. See also the Information for Divers issued by the Royal Naval Patrol Service Association.

Museums in general

The International Council on Museums (ICOM) has an international Virtual Library and Museums site at:

The Museums Association [of Britain] has a web-site at:

The "24 Hour Museum" has been renamed "Culture24"; its website is at:

The Scott Polar Research Institute has an extensive world-wide list of museums with Arctic or Antarctic items, many with maritime connections, on its website at:

The organization maintains a web-site of information for tourists. There is a growing amount of useful information about museums and related places of interest on this site, which can be searched in a number of ways at:

Some of the maritime museums in Ireland are listed, with links, at the IslandIreland web-site, which carries information about museums and other cultural centres in Ireland, both north and south:

British Societies specialising in maritime studies

The Society for Nautical Research promotes research in nautical matters and publishes the results in its quarterly journal, "The Mariner's Mirror". This research covers all matters relating to seafaring, ships and shipbuilding in all ages and in all nations; the language and customs of the sea; in fact any serious topic of maritime and naval interest, correspondence, book reviews, etc. The web-site is at: 
The SNR web-site includes a useful page of related nautical societies, at:

The World Ship Society holds records and photographs of many ships, has regular local meetings and publishes the journal "Marine News". It now has an extensive web-site at:

The Naval Dockyards Society provides a forum for those with an interest in naval dockyards, including hospitals, victualling yards and Ordnance Board establishments. It is concerned with any aspects of naval dockyards: construction, history, workforce as well as the surrounding communities. The web-site is at:

The Docklands History Group is an independent body with a focus on the London Docks and the related communities of the Thames estuary. There are monthly meetings at the Museum of London Docklands. The group's web-site is:

The quarterly journal "The Seafarer", is published by the Marine Society & Sea Cadets charity. Each has a web-site: and 
There are links to sites of other maritime organisations, continuing education, reference and maritime heritage.

The Maritime Information Association (MIA) promotes networking of information amongst maritime historians, researchers, collectors, curators, archivists, librarians and others with an interest in maritime and naval matters, or working in that field. A directory of sources of information in the UK is published as well as a quarterly newsletter. The Association's web-site is being redeveloped. In the meantime, information can be obtained from the Association's Secretary, Dr Roy Fenton:

Discussion Groups, Mailing Lists and Forums

Discussion Lists and Forums are useful alternatives to Usenet discussion groups and other web-sites for getting specialised information. Each is comprised of a group of like-minded individuals who have joined the group to share information. The exchange is conducted by e-mail. Here are some suggestions for Discussion Lists and Forums with nautical relevance:

Age of Nelson
A web-site that includes a forum for discussions and also articles, documents and major databases on the ships, officers and men of the Royal Navy in the 1793-1815 period.

For index and more details go to:

This list exists to facilitate the discussion of battleships and battlecruisers.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

A list for discussion of codebreaking at Bletchley Park during WWII. Occasional maritime topics include German Naval Enigma, the role of ULTRA in the war at sea, etc.

To join: 
send an e-mail to:
and in the body of the message, put

There are a number of restrictions on the format. For full details see

A list for discussing the Titanic liner.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

(This is just one of many discussion lists focussed on the Titanic)

The primary purpose is to facilitate exchange of scholarly information about maritime archaeology, history, literature, policy, etc. It is specially intended for those teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is one of a number of history groups within the H-Net domain. For further details go to:

For the discussion of the conservation and restoration of historic craft.

To join:
send an e-mail to:
and in the body of the message, put
join historic-vessels [your name]

Mahan Naval History Discussion List
For discussions related to historic naval matters.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

Map History Discussion List. For queries and comments on the history of maps, including nautical charts.

To join:
send an e-mail to:
and in the body of the message, put

Marine History Information Exchange Group. To promote communication among persons with a serious interest in maritime history and maritime museums. A very active list.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

Created for sharing experiences, news and discussion on marine news and related topics, historical and literature.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

For discussions about merchant ships, the world's Navies, and those who made their lives at sea. The emphasis is on the nautical aspects of family history research and genealogy.

For more information go to:

Museum-L is a general purpose, cross-disciplinary electronic discussion list for museum professionals, students, and all others interested in museum related issues.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

Museum Ships
One of the Yahoo! groups is devoted to museum-ships around the world.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

An email list designed to bring together Historians, Researchers, Nautical Archeologists, Authors, Reenactors, and all others interested in serious discussion concerning the history of piracy on the high seas, and related topics.

To join:
send an e-mail to
and in the body of the message, put
subscribe pirates

Sailing Navies 1650-1850
A moderated forum in which topics relevant to the period are raised and discussed under a range of general headings. Not a mailing list.

For more information and instructions about how to join go to:

Discussions related to wooden sailing ships in books, including the Napoleonic period and the Aubrey/Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian.

To join:
send an e-mail to:
and in the body of the message put these 2 words only:

Is supported by the publishers of Seaways' Ships in Scale Magazine. It is a forum for active ship modellers to discuss and share information.

For more information and instructions on how to join and exchange messages, go to:

A moderated mailing list to allow members to post 'for-sale' and 'wanted' lists of books related to maritime and nautical history.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

ShipModelers-Forum is a list dedicated to supporting all aspects of the hobby of model ship building.

For more information and joining instructions go to:

Ship Modelling Mailing List
SMML is mainly geared towards towards plastic warship modelling. Commercial and sailing ship modelling posts are welcome, and other modes of model-making can also be discussed.

For details of the rules and how to subscribe, go to:

Underwater Archaeology Discussion List.

To join:
send an e-mail to
and in the body of the message, put
subscribe sub-arch

Discussion of the traditional aspects of sailing. Operators of historic ships frequently post their sailing schedules here.

To join:
send an e-mail to
and in the body of the message, put
subscribe tallship

For questions and discussions about ships in which family ancestors may have travelled, especially as emigrants/immigrants.

For information and joining instructions go to:

The World War I Military History discussion group is one of several lists dealing with military history on the Internet. Naval matters are discussed occasionally. A very active list.

To join:
send an e-mail to:
Leave the subject field blank. In the text field type:
subscribe WWI-L [your name]

When subscribing by e-mail to a listserver, the "Subject" header should usually (but not always) be left completely blank. Replace [your name] with your first and last names, omitting the square brackets.

The subscribing (and unsubscribing) commands to the listserver must be sent exactly as required. Some lists require active confirmation of a request to subscribe before full membership is granted. After acceptance, subscribers are generally sent an automated message. It is very important to keep this for future reference if it includes unsubscribing and other instructions.

Messages for distribution to a list's members should be in plain ASCII text. Do not write them with a word-processor that applies formatting. Use a simple text editor, or make sure that the MIME, HTML or other formatting options are turned off if you are using an e-mail editor supplied with your browser. Do not send messages written entirely in upper case. Read and follow the netiquette notes appropriate to the discussion list.

Many of these lists store old messages in their archives.


Although much effort has been made to achieve accuracy, there is no guarantee that this list is free from errors, and details may change at short notice. Please keep us informed of any corrections, additions or other necessary changes. We are always grateful for information. All the data listed here are believed to be in the public domain.

Please note that we maintain these pages as a voluntary academic part-time activity and we cannot undertake any paid or unpaid research. While we will try to answer straightforward queries concerning the maritime collections in the British Isles, we cannot give any guidance on questions related to nautical aspects of family history research. Family genealogists should direct their enquiries to the sources mentioned after 'National Archives', in the Naval and maritime history section, above. We cannot offer any opinions about the value of maritime collectables and antiques. Enquiries should be made via professional valuers or from reputable auction houses.

The material on this page carries no approval by or official sanction from the University of Cambridge or any of its Colleges, Departments or other Institutions, who have no responsibility for its contents or any inaccuracies.

Copyright 2003-2014 by Martin H. Evans and Janet West. Permission is hereby granted to copy or print this list for non-profit personal or educational use. Permission is also given to copy or link to this list on World-Wide Web servers, if the list is used in full, including this copyright notice, and if the URL is given in full. You may use or redistribute shorter sections for non-profit personal or educational purposes, provided that this copyright notice and acknowledgement of the source is included. Any other use is prohibited without the explicit permission of Martin H. Evans and Janet West.

This page last updated by Dr. Martin H. Evans on 27th April 2015.

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